Michael Gove MP talking

Michael Gove MP talking (Photo credit: jaywood_uk)

England’s exams regulator Ofqual has told the Education Secretary Michael Gove it has concerns over some of the changes he is bringing in to England’s exams system.

GCSEs are being overhauled in England and from 2015 some are being replaced with new English Baccalaureate Certificates.

Earlier this week Gove had admitted to the Education Select Committee that Ofqual had concerns about the new exams, but refused to reveal, stating that it was up to Ofqual to release the letter if they so wished.

Perhaps calling his bluff Ofqual have done just that, saying “Our first concern is that the aims of the EBC may exceed what is realistically achievable through a single assessment”

The EBC has been thrown into the education world by Gove who repeatedly says that the current GCSE’s do not push the more able students, creating a single exam that is supposed to stretch these most able students whilst allowing the less able to pass the same exam?

To me it seems inconceivable to do that in one exam. Gove constantly harks back to O levels, GCE’s whilst forgetting there was CSE’s for the less able pupils.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said it was time for Mr Gove to “think again”.

“Michael Gove’s exam plans are opposed by teachers, the CBI and by his own exams chief,” he said.

“They understand they are narrow and out of date.”

During the committee hearing, the chairman Graham Stuart said exam boards competing to win franchises to design replacements for GCSEs felt they were “designing in the dark”, with not enough time.

The MPs heard that exam boards which want to bid to run individual English Baccalaureate Certificates in core subjects have to put their bids in in June, but would not hear the details of what was needed until Easter.

“They are designing in the dark, scared to complain about it in case you hold it against them,” he told Mr Gove.

The education secretary told MPs he had not heard complaints from the exam boards about the brief they had been given and that they were aware of what would be needed.

Michael Gove set out his reasons for introducing “more rigorous” exams, saying that although grades had been rising every year, standards had not. This seems to conflict with his constant statement that “We have the best generation of teachers and headteachers we have ever had.”

Welcome to the world of Michael Gove, the best teachers ever, but not increasing standards of education, a two tier of exams that don’t stretch the more able, to be replaced by one exam to test all abilities.


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